From atop the lecterns at the Democratic presidential debates and the White House, a common trope is dismantling and rejiggering how health care is delivered in America.
For those on the left, the emphasis is on expanding who can access government-backed health insurance programs while cutting off the role of the private sector. And on the right, President Donald Trump is looking to import drugs and pharmaceutical price controls from abroad.
Missing in both of these visions is the essential component that governs every other sector of the economy: the freedom to choose.
Much like housing, transportation and education, it’s clear that the entire health care sector needs disruption. We need some out-of-the-box thinking, innovation and on-demand delivery that will bring costs down for ordinary people.
It’s this formula that has empowered millions to rise out of poverty, make a decent living for their families, and expand consumer choice to makes their lives better.
But both the Democrats and Trump are leading Americans astray on what really matters when it comes to health care.
Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have serious proposals to totally ban the private health care market in favor of a “Medicare for All” system. That means every American would be thrown into the government insurance program reserved for our seniors.
All administration, billing, reimbursement claims and hospital contracts for more than 350 million people would be handled by the federal government. For a country as unique, diverse and large as the United States, this just couldn’t be carried out effectively.
Such plans would make it illegal for Americans to choose the type of health care coverage that fit them best, depriving them of fundamental choices.
Many younger working people don’t have comprehensive insurance because it doesn’t make economic sense. They would rather pay out of pocket for small expenses and use high-deductible disaster insurance when necessary.
For the 8.8 percent of Americans without health insurance, would they benefit from a mass reorganization of the system that would offer the care reserved for our seniors if the cost comes in the form of higher taxes and less consumer choice?
The same applies to Trump’s well-intended but flawed plans on importing drugs from single-payer systems around the world.
The reason pharmaceutical drugs are more expensive has more to do with subsidies than cost. Most drugs are born from innovative American firms but are subsidized greatly or negotiated for lower rates by governments who import them.
Firms can afford this because it’s offset by American prices, meaning the rest of the world is free-riding on American innovation and intellectual property.
They achieve this by reducing access and choice. It’s no secret that the lion’s share of pharmaceutical drugs are available in the United States while they’re unavailable in the countries that refuse to pay for them. So yes, the prices of drugs may be cheaper in Canada or Norway, but the supply and choices are lacking.
Do we want fewer choices of drugs for lower costs or more choices and prices at market rate?
What matters most when it comes to our personal health is the freedom to choose. Whether it is our doctor, insurance program or drugs we buy, Americans want to be able to pick what works best from them.
Grandiose plans that seek to completely reorganize how many taxes we pay and how we receive care would severely restrict that.
Originally published here.
The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.
The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org